The Decameron is a collection of 100 stories written by the 14th century Italian (Florentine) writer Giovanni Boccaccio. It is considered a pre-cursor and inspiration for Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. Where in the Canterbury Tales our story tellers are on a religious pilgrimage, in The Decameron our 100 tales come from affluent land owners who have been able to flee the cities of Italy for the countryside in an attempt to avoid the Bubonic Plague sweeping through Europe.
What does this have to do with southern NJ shore real estate? Well, in the last two weeks the markets in Avalon, Sea Isle, and Stone Harbor (and particularly in Avalon) have gone “Boom!”. In what can at best be described as shaky economic times, chaotic political times, and fraught times for anybody with health worries, the explanation emerging for this trend reminds us that the more things change the more they remain the same. Just as our 14th century well-to-do ancestors fled the trouble and uncertainty of those European metropolises, we now see people with the means seeking the security and convenience of a second home at a vacation destination that is safe, accessible, and convenient.
Can’t fly to Europe or take the family on a cruise for the next year or two or three? Let’s get a place that we can get away to. A little sick and tired of stomach turning ups and downs of the stock market which might be the new normal for the next few years? Let’s store some of our savings and investments in an asset that more consistently holds a steady value. Also, if people can’t fly or are reluctant to stay in public facilities like hotels, why not own an asset that can be rented as an alternative to those people? (The rental market is also “Booming!” right now as an aside. The plebs want to get away, too.)
Is it a privilege? Yes. Are we fortunate? Undeniably. But vacation homes and even going on vacation have always been a privilege. We’ve always been fortunate. So yes, we all need to find a way right now to try to come together and try to give back. However, many of us also know there’s a pressure to keep our families and loved ones safe and secure. And healthy. It appears that some of the savvy realize that the southern NJ shore is a good place to do that right now.
If you have a reason to sell right now, that should be great news to you. Counterintuitively– at least for the time being–, broad economic uncertainty is strengthening our local real estate market. Like our narrators in The Decameron in days of old so is it today, people can’t sit still. We have to do something. And real estate in Sea Isle, Avalon, and Stone Harbor (and especially in Avalon) are the alternative plan for many right now.
Enough of this. Here are the numbers. Click on them to see the listings for the properties referenced for each town.
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